IMG_8065Monday Morning Motivation:
Hiring For Purpose Not Potential


Happy Monday everyone!

A funny thing happened on my way back from Miami where I was filming Sweet Retreats last week.  Not funny, ha-ha, you understand; funny in that strange, crazy clear way that sort of hits you between the eyes.

Pharrell Williams is on this month’s cover of Fast Company, a magazine about business and those who make it go. Pharrell, in case you don’t know, is a singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, fashion designer and a whole lot of others things. That he has his a finger in every pie is enough to make me love him, but it’s what he said in his piece about hiring people, that resonated most.

“You are only as good as your team, ” he says. “When you envision success, you should see all the people you work with, in addition to yourself. When I look at that picture, I see giant angels who are much smarter than me, who can oversee the things that I don’t know shit about. I used to hire 21-year-old monsters with a twinkle in their eye, ” he adds. “I saw potential, but it was what I  thought they could do, not what they could actually do.”


Or, as a good friend of mine put it: “Not everyone is going to get to the mountaintop with you”.

Related: Monday Morning Motivation: Confusion Or Delusion?

What Pharrell used to do, I have been guilty of too. I used to hire people based on what I saw as their potential; in my mind I could teach, they could learn, we would work together to get to, well, the mountaintop.

Only it doesn’t always work like that, not in my experience. The teaching required a tremendous amount of oversight in the beginning and a wary, watchful eye at the end. On more than one occasion, decisions were made that were not only bad for the health of my company, they were just bad, period.

As much as I want to be nice and well-liked, I also can’t afford to be sued. I had to, as Pharrell points out, hire people based on what they could do, not what I thought they could.

That’s not to say that there is not a degree of learning that goes along with every job; there is. But you the basics and things like good common sense, have to already be a part of the person’s personal repertoire.

Related: Surround Yourself With The Right People

I’m proud to say I learn from my mistakes. The team here at Good Enough Mother, in my eyes is, just as Pharrell described; when I look at them, I see them rounding out my success. My sincere hope is that I do the same for them.

Related: 5 Things To Learn From A Take-This-Job-And-Shove-It Moment

The lesson for me? There’s a price for competence.

Pay it.

What about you? Do you agree? Do you hire young guns with little experience, hoping to teach and train? Or do you hire professionals with a few years under their belt? Which has worked better for you?